That's one of my favorite lines in one of my favorite movies, Sense & Sensibility. The woman that he loves is gravely ill, and most likely going to die. Colonel Brandon is waiting, like the rest of the house, for some news or some change, and the helplessness is killing him. Not only does he not mind being asked for a favor, he is being eaten up with the need to DO SOMETHING.
On Saturday, I was told about a tragic plane accident that took the life of a local pilot the night before. I know his wife casually, we've met a few times and have several mutual friends. They have four young children. For some reason, I have not been able to shake the sadness. I woke up that night several times thinking about Holly, and how she's probably fading in and out of sleep as well, but every time she fades into consciousness, she's smacked in the face again with the horrible truth that she'll never wake up with him again. I can't even begin to fathom the engulfing pain of telling your kids their dad is not coming home. I barely know this family, and yet I was overcome with sadness for them. Obviously, as a young mom myself, I can't help but put myself in her shoes, though I was trying not to "go there" in my imagination, and I was left feeling so helpless and shedding many tears for a pain that wasn't really mine to own. I just prayed and prayed and prayed.
Then today, I stumbled upon THIS LINK from a few of those many mutual friends--they were sharing it on Facebook. The title of the blog post? THE RESNICK FAMILY: HOW YOU CAN HELP. Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. I don't know this friend of theirs, but I feel like giving her a huge hug. (And yeah to my FB friends for passing it along!) She's taking action, giving information, spreading the word like wildfire and organizing all the hundreds of helpless mourners--even in our many varying levels of intimacy with the family. If something like this ever happens to me---one of you DO THIS. If something like this ever happens to one of you--I'm going to do this for you. Now, I have an "occupation." Yes, it's probably just going to be a Target gift card, but you know what--somewhere down the line, it will be used. It will be one less thing for Holly to have to worry about. She might not even remember who I am, certainly doesn't care right now and will never even know it's from me. But in situations like this, I'm with Colonel Brandon: taking action is the only way to combat the grief--even if sometimes the grief is vicarious.
(By the way, I don't think it would be out of line at all for strangers to reach out to this family as well. :) The step-by-step instructions are hard to miss.)